General practitioners (GPs) use a code of conduct in their practices to assist them in performing their jobs ethically. Codes of conduct vary by practice, but most have a similar foundation.
A code of conduct is a set of written ethical conduct principles. These principles are ethically based standards used to help GPs make good decisions regarding their behaviour and knowledge. Typically a code of conduct must be agreed to by all members of the staff within a GP's practice. These guidelines are often used when reviewing staff members' job performances.
A GP's code of conduct contains standards used for patient care, clinical research and training, confidentiality and patient conduct. This includes treating patients with care and respect, continuing education to improve medical standards, avoiding sexual activity with patients, maintaining confidentiality and respecting patients' rights to accepting or rejecting advice from a GP.
A code of conduct for GPs is used to promote patient quality and trust and equal treatment to all patients regardless of race, gender or nationality. A code of conduct for GPs also promotes clear communication to patients, the improvement of patient care, and to avoid harassment of patients.